The idea is that they would set up the publication so the snapshots are FTPed to our distributor. The problem is...
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that since I only have read-only access and the distributor is on our side, I cannot monitor or kick off the snapshot agent. Is there any way I can get around it without having to be system administrator or the database owner? Also, is there a way I can get SQL to compress large snapshots?
This is a rather strange situation. Why put the publisher on the other side of the domain and not on the same box as the distributor? Then things would work much easier. If they won't do that, then they should set up a domain trust so you can use regular transaction replication and perform routine maintenance.
If that's impossible, then you have some obstacles to overcome. In a situation like yours, you might wish to FTP the files (possibly zipped before sending them) and load them on a pub/dist on your side of the domain. I personally wouldn't accept the responsibility for maintaining a system that I couldn't monitor or control.
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